Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the joy of dance. Believe it or not, there was a time in my life that I … yes, Janicka … let my joy of dance fade. I can’t pinpoint when that happened exactly. But I can tell you the minute I opened my heart and soul back to dance, and it was truly one of the most amazing moments in my life. To this day, I refuse to let it go.
Picture this, I’m well into adulthood, armed with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University (Go Mustangs!). I was not teaching yet. In fact, it hadn’t yet entered my mind to become a dance teacher.
I existed in the space many adults find ourselves in — survival mode. At that time, I worked two full-time and one part-time job just to make ends meet.
My cup was empty. I felt like I was spinning on a track just trying to make it day to day. My family was in Chicago, and I was determined to stay and make Dallas my home.
Day after day working at a prominent retailer, I would help dancers find the perfect shoes, leotards, and tights. Sometimes kids would accompany their parents —many were excited, and some wore the expression that the last thing they wanted to do was dance. No matter, I would ring up the parents with a smile and send them on their way.
Then one day, the door to the shop opened. And a beautiful woman walked in. Her aura was in complete balance and alignment. She exuded confidence, radiance, and energy, and I could tell her spirit was fed, and she was living her best life.
She was in search of dance booties for herself. I was intrigued. We talked. She described the African Dance class she was taking. It brought back memories of my childhood and college years — filled with dance classes, camps… and joy.
And this woman, this customer … invited me to join the class.
Listen! That was what I needed to plant the seed of possibility. Not that the desire to dance didn’t exist before, I just needed someone to say: “There is a space for you. You can dance as an adult.”
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. Though the seed was planted and attending that class was always on my mind, I fought with the dancer I used to be. After such a long break for my body, I knew that it would be a journey to get back to where I used to be, where I wanted to be in my mind.
Eventually, I ventured into that studio to take that class. Once the beats of drums filled the air, and my body began to sway, my heart and soul took flight – I felt pure joy. My body, my mind, my emotions — my cup was brimming.
You couldn’t hold me back from the dance studio after that. And with my cup full, that fueled my fire to be where I am today – holding space and teaching adult dancers.
I share #mycupisfull story with you because I know that others might be in need of an invitation, just like me. Rediscover your joy. Whatever it is.
And if it happens to be dance, there is a space waiting for you in a safe environment with other adults. I invite you to join us at Art of VIII School of Dance, where we are inspired by the strength, grit, and utter courage it takes to start as a beginner, to develop our minds, train our bodies and humble our souls.